Reports Media & Marketing

Music Marketing The Velocity Game

Report by Mark Mulligan
Cover image for Music Marketing
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The 20,000 Foot View:  Music streaming has become so central to the functioning of the record label business model that labels are becoming beholden to streaming service optimisation. A shift towards ever-larger numbers of new releases targeted at streaming success threatens to dislocate the underlying business model of bigger record labels and cause a disconnect between what music audiences want and what they actually get. These are structural industry challenges with potentially seismic implications.

Key Insights

  • Chasing stream counts and market share through increased volume and velocity of releases is redefining how record labels and artists operate, prioritising short-term streaming success over long-term strategy
  • A central cause and effect of the volume game is a demotion in value of the artist as a brand versus the track – artists are a second-level format within streaming
  • Pop and rock are the top two preferred genres for overall consumers, but hip hop dominates the top        Spotify tracks with        of placings while pop was a distant second on       
  • There is a risk that the vicious/virtuous circle of artist & revenue and playlist curation influence is turning streaming into a genre micro-climate
  • Placing bets on heavily streaming younger listeners to drive hip hop streams risks alienating older streamers who are more likely to be paid users – label marketing strategy is becoming decoupled from label business strategy
  • A tension is emerging among music streamers:        of music streamers are spending more time listening to playlists but        prefer listening to music they choose

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Spotify, Universal Music

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